A Call For THC Sanity

Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2001
From: "David C. Frankel" <dfrankel@4thwavelaw.org>
To: <restore@crrh.org>
Subject: FW: [HempIssues] DEA bans THC, not hempseed products

From: "ALL ONE!" <allone@drbronner.com>
Organization: Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2001
To: <foodandagissues@lists.votenader.org>,
"Richard Rose" <rr@richardrose.com>
Subject: Re: [HempIssues] DEA bans THC, not hempseed products


    Please write your congresspeople objecting to the proposed rules.  Most of the industry disagrees with Richard (and his Hemp Foods Association) about the severity of the proposed rules of the DEA. Richard's "zero THC" is not zero, but rather is less than the reportable certainty of the 1999 Customs THC analysis protocol.  More properly, Richard is saying "undetectable" THC.

    With this qualification, Richard is partly correct as far as the seed itself goes regarding processors getting the seed under Customs detection limit, but he is wrong about the oil, because THC flows with the oil, and concentrates to the slight extent that will be detected the U.S. Customs protocol without cost-intensive and quality-sabotaging processes (processors are already producing oil below detectable limits according to the Canadian <4 ppm protocol, which is more than sufficient to address drug-interference concerns for any but the hypothetically absurd consumption of hemp oil).

    We need to fight for these reasons:

1)  In a "zero THC" climate, there is no guarantee that the Customs test outlined in 1999 will be the standard test implemented now, or in the future.  The bar can move and the protocol can change, even to automatic seizure based on a correct supposition that there is always trace THC, and
"zero THC" allows no dissent from the hemp industry.

2)  Even though there is the limit of "reportable certainty" allowed by this protocol, this does not mean the analysis will not detect THC at less than that level.  Should THC be detected at less than that level versus "zero", what is to stop the DEA from  implementing a more sensitive "confirmation
test" like what is used routinely in urine tests at low THC detection levels?

3)  Even if the inertia and ignorance of the government keeps the 1999 protocol in place forever under zero THC, without confirmation testing, there is still the problem of Customs keeping hemp seed and oil for who knows how long under who knows what kind of conditions while they do their tests.  I doubt they have refrigerated storage, and there may be rancid it  problems on top of extended delivery delays.

4)  "zero THC" is a big step backward for growing hemp in the U.S., as obviously the hemp plant itself is greater than "zero THC".

5)  "zero THC" is a completely bullshit policy by DEA, that violates over 60 years of well-settled law in the U.S. as well as NAFTA and WTO.  I believe that the DEA is on extremely thin ice, and can be backed down immediately with a strong effective coordinated effort upfront.

    If we lose the fight, than we are in a "zero THC" scenario, and I like everyone else want to still get seed and oil into the country if at all possible, and I thank the individuals who are preparing to
try and do this. However, a processor who speaks for most all processors has informed us that
the cleaning method needed to get the oil to below detection by the DEA's proposed rules would be a cost-intensive process and result in an inferior quality oil for no good reason, as drug test interference are being addressed by the industry at levels below the Canadian protocol detection

Please see

     I take Richard at his word about small size of the hemp seed food market. However, hemp oil products, while still small, are pushing about $75 million (Bodyshop and other cosmetic companies making up the bulk), and even if hemp oil can still be imported into the country under "zero THC,"
the cost impact will be a severe blow.

     We have FOIA documents that show that DEA supported the Canadian <10 ppm policy in internal negotiations with Customs and ONDCP, and McCaffrey is gone, who pushed DEA into "zero THC" in the first place. We have the National Conference of State Legislators calling on DEA to adopt the Canadian regulatory model.  In combination with the Canadian businesses and government filing NAFTA suits demanding withdrawal of the regs in the absence of scientific demonstration of harm from THC, there is a good likelihood that DEA will back down without too much more cost and struggle. At least, we can postpone the rules indefinitely.  We already know that the letter writing campaign has gotten congressional pressure on DEA.

Visit www.votehemp.com to click a letter to your elected officials if you haven't already.

    United we stand:  we need effective self-regulation and sharing in our industry to keep THC down to eliminate drug test interference and enable capital to flow in, as well as hopefully keep
seed and oil coming in even in a worst-case "zero THC" scenario, AND we need to fight the DEA's "zero THC" policy and its potential devastating effect on the industry.

Take care, David Bronner
Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps

P.S.  Although we need to fight these regs, we don't need exaggerated fears spreading outside the people immediately sympathetic, committed and supportive of our cause, as we don't want uncommitted "mainstream" businesses that will really break hemp wide open getting scared off. Obviously, some of this can't be helped, and is due to the fact that DEA has targeted hemp and we have to fight for hemp as this is why we are hempsters, but stuff like the SaveHemp letter is over the top and counter-productive. This is a balancing act, and people need to be aware and sensitive. I second Richard's call for people to buy hempseed and oil products as essential to get a domestically grown hemp crop. However, the increasing demand for hemp must be matched by the equally essential activist pressure on the system.  Please write your congresspeople.

----- Original Message -----
From: Richard Rose <rr@richardrose.com>
To: foodandagissues@lists.votenader.org;
Sent: Thursday, 25 January, 2001

Subject: [HempIssues] DEA bans THC, not hempseed products

Since December 2000 there have been concerns expressed by hempseed consumers and activists about the recent Proposed Rule by the DEA (see the text of the Rule below).

It is the position of the Hemp Food Association that this Proposed Rule is simply a clarification of the basis under which DEA, US Customs, and responsible hempseed importers have been operating on for quite some time, namely, that hempseed products may not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

A survey of many hempseed importers revealed that all were either in full compliance with the Proposed Rule, or will soon be able to confirm that they are.

Therefore, this is not a ban on hempseed products, this is a ban only on THC in hempseed products. Notice that the Proposed Rule states "the interim rule will not allow ``hemp'' products that result in THC entering the human body", and NOT "the interim rule will not allow ``hemp''
products that enter the human body". This is a significant difference in meaning, and in
practical application.

The hempseed products industry absolutely has the technology to provide "zero THC" hempseed and products. Improving processing standards to meet challenges in today's market is the only way to ensure the long-term viability and sustainability of the hempseed products industry. Responsible
hempseed importers have met this challenge.

However, some marijuana and hemp activists have seized on this issue to further their agenda, despite the harm it has and will continue to cause the hempseed products industry. It has happened in the recent past, and unfortunately, appears poised to occur again. The result of these exaggerations and distortions is that it has created a climate of fear among retailers, distributors, manufacturers, and allied industries, regarding the legality or availability of hempseed products.

This climate of fear is not only unnecessary, it is holding back the hempseed industry's very ability to be sustainable and viable. For such a small market (hempseed product sales are well under $5 million annually in North America), many companies are now in a fragile predicament, desperate
for increased revenues in order to even achieve break-even and keep their doors open. In just the past 18 months at least 12 companies have suspended hemp product operations, and at least another 10 are on the verge of the same.

This issue was recently confirmed by an agriculture activist in Idaho:

"Mr. Rose has made a very good point. It is the people "in the business" that have the most at stake. As an example, a local store in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho called  "The Gateway Gardens" has dropped selling all hemp foods because of the ONDCP shenanigans that have left shop owners nervous about both the supply and potential legal liability of selling hemp food products. They sold a lot of hemp foods and still sell non food hemp items. This is just one example, if it is being repeated nationwide, (and those of you in the hemp food industry would know this first hand) then Mr.
McCaffrey won the first skirmish."

However, with the GOP regaining the White House, we have the perfect opportunity to make our case for federal de-regulation of industrial hemp. We can frame it as an issue of states' rights and business/economics/agriculture. We can show how industrial hemp is not a drug issue, and that the feds therefore do not have a legitimate interest in regulating hemp. The GOP historically is the party most likely to be receptive to these issues. Let's state our case thusly and press on, instead of creating a climate of fear, confusion, and negativity.

If someone truly wants to support the fledgling hemp industry, the most impact will be by "voting with their dollars." Seek out and buy hempseed products. Tell your friends and family about them. Encourage their use. This is the greatest power consumers and citizens have, to vote with their dollars as well as their ballots. A market needs to exist for these new products more than we need negative publicity about them killing off demand in its infancy. Many believe that the greatest market
potential for hemp lies in the hempseed, and that the greater the demand is for industrial hemp, the greater the pressure will be to re-permit domestic cultivation.

Additionally, once the hempseed products market becomes larger, it will become sustainable, and its very existence will be the greatest proof possible that hemp is commercially viable, necessary, and should be allowed again.

This large and growing market for hempseed products will create the greatest pressure to re-permit industrial hemp in the U.S., galvanizing farmers, media, consumers, retailers, distributors, and

But getting the industry there from where it is today will likely be the
greatest challenge it faces, greater even than the DEA.

[November 30, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 231)]
[Unified Agenda]
 From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [frwais.access.gpo.gov]
[Page 74025]
Department of Justice (DOJ)
Proposed Rule Stage
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)


Priority: Substantive, Nonsignificant

Legal Authority: 21 USC 802; 21 USC 811; 21 USC 812; 21 USC 871(b)

CFR Citation: 21 CFR 1308

Legal Deadline: None

Abstract: DEA is planning to publish three rules simultaneously in the Federal Register regarding the status of products manufactured from the cannabis plant. It is anticipated that the three rules will be as follows.

The first rule will be an interpretive rule, which will provide DEA's interpretation of existing law with respect to the listing of tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances
Act (CSA) and DEA regulations. [Please see ``Additional Information'' for further details].

The second rule will be a proposed rule which will propose to revise the wording of the DEA regulations to more clearly reflect DEA's interpretation of the law as set forth in the interpretive rule. The proposed rule would make clear that the listing of THC in Schedule I includes both natural and synthetic THC and that any substance containing any amount of THC is a Schedule I controlled substance--even if such substance is made from ``hemp.''

The third rule will be an interim rule, which will exempt from application of the CSA and DEA regulations certain industrial ``hemp'' products. DEA would be issuing this rule to allow the continuation of what have historically been considered legitimate industrial uses of "hemp.'' Under this rule, industrial ``hemp'' products such as paper, rope, and clothing may continue to be marketed in the United States without being subject to the CSA. At the same time, in order to protect the public health and safety, the interim rule will not allow "hemp'' products that result in THC entering the human body. In this manner, it will remain clear that the only lawful way THC may enter the human body is when a person is using a federally approved drug or when the person is the subject of federally approved research.


Clarification of Listing of Tetrahydrocannabinols  NPRM 11/00/00

Exemption from Control of Certain Industrial Products and Material Derived From the Cannabis Plant  Interim Final Rule 11/00/00

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined Government Levels Affected: None

Additional Information: While agencies are not required to include information regarding interpretive rules in the Unified Agenda, DEA is providing a description of this interpretive rule for informational
purposes. The interpretive rule will provide DEA's interpretation of existing law with respect to the listing of tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and DEA regulations. The rule will further provide DEA's interpretation of the current legal status of products containing THC. In recent months, DEA has received numerous inquiries from members of the public about the legal status of products made from ``hemp'' (portions of the cannabis plant excluded from the CSA definition of marijuana). As stated in this rule, DEA interprets the CSA such that any substance containing any amount of THC is a Schedule I containing any amount of THC is a Schedule I controlled substance--even if such substance is made from "hemp.''

Agency Contact: Frank Sapienza, Chief, Drug and Chemical Evaluation Section, Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, Office of Diversion Control, Washington, DC 20537 Phone: 202 307-7183 RIN: 1117AA55